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North Sea Platform Decommissioning

We found a recent article of the Royal Academy of Engineers as regards North Sea platform decommissioning and its link to skills deficiency quite fascinating, and in line with what a number of our clients in the oil & gas industry are experiencing.

The article highlights that decommissioning will be an ongoing activity over the next 30 with an estimate of 500 – 960 new facilities reaching the end of their operational life. Current figures indicate that the UK will have a major shortage of workers skilled in these activities unless there is a significant increase in production of engineering and technical graduates from schools, colleges and universities as well as sustained retention of experienced workers within the industry.

Failures to develop, recruit and retain sufficient resources can be attributed, in part, to:

  1. Lack of resources
  • Experience: as in many industries, experience is valued rather than pure academic background, but industry still needs to attract young people to give them the experience.
  • Recent withdrawal of funding for apprentice schemes; this is already having an impact on the industry, with a resulting shortage of workers in a number of areas to add to the deficit of skilled resources.
2. Lack of retention
  • Competition from within the oil and gas industry worldwide, as well as other industries. Recent recruitment campaigns have been conducted in Aberdeen by global (for example Australian) resource companies offering highly attractive remuneration packages.
  • Poor retention of existing skilled workforce with many moving withing the oil & gas industry, having been enticed to other companies or locations, or to other industries.
The government and Home Office policy-makers better take note….
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